by: Barbara Kingsolver
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.
Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓 1/2
This Appalachian retelling of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield started with a bang- I couldn’t put it down. Here’s how I read it…I googled the plot of David Copperfield on wikipedia and read along up to where I was in the book. I didn’t read ahead to avoid spoilers. Funny and depressing, it was exactly what I needed during this post holiday time to get through the winter doldrums. Note to readers- it was heavy.
I hesitate to say five reading nerds because that sets such a crazily high expectation, but I thought this book was absolutely fantastic! Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors – I think she is a literary genius! The writing is beautiful and the words are amazing. The story of Demon Copperhead is heartbreaking, yet hopeful, in spite of the circumstances (and at times they are truly dire). You will root for Demon all the way – a litereary character you will not forget. A must read!